Radjabov Also Beats Carlsen, Grabs Sole Lead in Shamkir | Update: VIDEO

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 4/24/14, 11:28 AM.

After an excellent day for the local fans Teimour Radjabov is suddenly topping the standings of the Shamkir Chess 2014 tournament's A group. The 27-year-old grandmaster from Baku inflicted the second consecutive loss upon Magnus Carlsen, while co-leader Fabiano Caruana lost to Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Etienne Bacrot maintained his lead in group B with a quick win against Rauf Mamedov.

In a bizarre turn of events, both tournament leaders Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana lost their games in round 5 of the Shamkir Chess tournament. This means the leaderboard has shaken up considerably: at half-time it's one of the Azeri players, Teimour Radjabov, who is in sole lead!

Update: video!

Everyone was wondering how Carlsen would fare after his first loss in nine months, and the answer was: not great. His game with Radjabov became his first series of two losses in a row in three and a half years.

Radjabov returned to his beloved King's Indian against the World Champion, who chose the interesting 5.Nge2 variation. “I wasn't exactly sure what's the main line at the moment, but I tried to play in a classical way,” he said.


As early as move 12 Carlsen committed an inaccuracy which allowed Black to equalize. Then the Norwegian took too much risk with taking on f5, misjudging the subsequent complications. His Exchange sacrifice was more or less correct, but certainly not better for White. “To be honest I thought I was doing well here at first, but then I realized I was probably not,” said Carlsen. “I thought there was no way for him to improve his position. But then this …b5 stuff came and I couldn't keep things under control.”


In his opponent's time trouble Carlsen realized that his position was beyond repair. Despite having little time on the clock, Radjabov found the strongest moves and reached a winning ending on move 40.

They were. Radjabov had to wait a minute or two downstairs in the hall for his opponent to come down for the press conference. One security guard, who wouldn't be miscast as the bad guy's assistant in the next James Bond movie, asked him how he had played, and then congratulated the grandmaster.

The World Champion said about his bad form: “Right now I just don't have any energy. My opponents are playing well; they're fighting better than I am. I really need a rest day now to somehow try and regroup because right now it's not working.”

Spotted in the audience: Teimour Radjabov's father next to Vladimir Chuchelov,
and behind them Henrik Carlsen and Peter Heine Nielsen

Radjabov was obviously happy with his first win against Carlsen in six years. “We played many interesting games. This one is certainly the most memorable in terms of recent results.”

By the way, strictly speaking Carlsen could have lost the game much earlier. He appeared about two minutes late for the round, and since there is no mention of special rules for appearing late (such as 30 minutes, or the traditional 60 minutes) in the regulations (in PDF here), the standard FIDE zero-tolerance rule should apply. But common sense prevailed, and Chief Arbiter Faik Gasanov decided to let it be.

Hikaru Nakamura and Sergey Karjakin drew an interesting game that started with a topical line from the Symmetrical English where Black fianchettoes both his bishops. “I think I walked into some preparation,” said Nakamura at the press conference and Karjakin, sitting right next to him, was smiling expressively. And indeed, while the American grandmaster started pondering at move 14, his opponent only had his first big think at move 22!

But Nakamura didn't get into trouble - on the contrary. Karjakin's nifty way of reaching an ending wasn't actually that good as White was the only one who could play for a win there. Nakamura tried that for a while, but the advantage wasn't big enough.


Nakamura easily reached the top 3 of best quotes thus far with the following: “I've played good chess, I've played bad chess and I've played ugly chess. Frankly I actually wish I could play tomorrow because it would give me a chance to play better chess.”

Nakamura would have liked to play tomorrow

The other day Sergey Karjakin warned about a likely comeback for Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who also started the Candidates badly but then started winning. And indeed, the tail-ender scored his first point today against Fabiano Caruana, who was very close to a draw.

In an interesting sideline of the Grünfeld, Mamedyarov managed to drag his opponent into unknown territory. Caruana decided to sacrifice a pawn for activity on the queenside, but in the long run his compensation evaporated. With queens and opposite-colored bishops the position was still drawn, but Caruana missed an important idea and then a nice king march by Mamedyarov decided the game.


Etienne Bacrot maintained his lead most comfortably by beating Rauf Mamedov in a mere 26 moves. He described the position after the opening as “an Accelerated Dragon where the move …f5 does't belong“, and so White had a pleasant edge. And then, after a careless 21st move from Black, he could already deliver the decisive blow.

Bacrot, still in the lead in B

Tomorrow is a rest day for the players. An excursion through Shamkir is scheduled, in the afternoon football will be played and in the evening there is a concert at the players' hotel. The tournament resumes on Saturday for the second half.

Shamkir Chess 2014 | A | Pairings & results

Round 1 20.04.14 15:00 AZST   Round 6 26.04.14 15:00 AZST
Carlsen 1-0 Mamedyarov   Mamedyarov - Carlsen
Nakamura ½-½ Caruana   Caruana - Nakamura
Karjakin ½-½ Radjabov   Radjabov - Karjakin
Round 2 21.04.14 15:00 AZST   Round 7 27.04.14 15:00 AZST
Mamedyarov ½-½ Radjabov   Radjabov - Mamedyarov
Caruana ½-½ Karjakin   Karjakin - Caruana
Carlsen 1-0 Nakamura   Nakamura - Carlsen
Round 3 22.04.14 15:00 AZST   Round 8 28.04.14 15:00 AZST
Nakamura 1-0 Mamedyarov   Mamedyarov - Nakamura
Karjakin ½-½ Carlsen   Carlsen - Karjakin
Radjabov ½-½ Caruana   Caruana - Radjabov
Round 4 23.04.14 15:00 AZST   Round 9 29.04.14 15:00 AZST
Karjakin ½-½ Mamedyarov   Caruana - Mamedyarov
Radjabov ½-½ Nakamura   Radjabov - Carlsen
Caruana 1-0 Carlsen   Karjakin - Nakamura
Round 5 24.04.14 15:00 AZST   Round 10 30.04.14 13:00 AZST
Mamedyarov 1-0 Caruana   Mamedyarov - Karjakin
Carlsen 0-1 Radjabov   Nakamura - Radjabov
Nakamura ½-½ Karjakin   Carlsen - Caruana

Shamkir Chess 2014 | A | Round 5 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts SB
1 Radjabov,Teimour 2713 2864 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 3.0/5
2 Caruana,Fabiano 2783 2780 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1 0 2.5/5 6.50
3 Karjakin,Sergey 2772 2781 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ ½ 2.5/5 6.25
4 Nakamura,Hikaru 2772 2781 ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 0 1 2.5/5 6.00
5 Carlsen,Magnus 2881 2760 0 0 ½ 1 phpfCo1l0.png 1 2.5/5 5.75
6 Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar 2760 2714 ½ 1 ½ 0 0 phpfCo1l0.png 2.0/5

Shamkir Chess 2014 | B | Pairings & results

Round 1 20.04.14 15:00 AZST   Round 2 21.04.14 15:00 AZST
Wojtaszek ½-½ Durarbayli   Durarbayli 0-1 Bacrot
Eljanov ½-½ Mamedov   Guseinov ½-½ Wang Hao
Motylev ½-½ Abasov   Abasov ½-½ Safarli
Safarli ½-½ Guseinov   Mamedov 0-1 Motylev
Wang Hao ½-½ Bacrot   Wojtaszek 0-1 Eljanov
Round 3 22.04.14 15:00 AZST   Round 4 23.04.14 15:00 AZST
Eljanov ½-½ Durarbayli   Durarbayli 0-1 Guseinov
Motylev 0-1 Wojtaszek   Abasov ½-½ Bacrot
Safarli ½-½ Mamedov   Mamedov 1-0 Wang Hao
Wang Hao ½-½ Abasov   Wojtaszek 1-0 Safarli
Bacrot 1-0 Guseinov   Eljanov ½-½ Motylev
Round 5 24.04.14 15:00 CET   Round 6 26.04.14 15:00 AZST
Motylev ½-½ Durarbayli   Durarbayli - Abasov
Safarli 0-1 Eljanov   Mamedov - Guseinov
Wang Hao ½-½ Wojtaszek   Wojtaszek - Bacrot
Bacrot 1-0 Mamedov   Eljanov - Wang Hao
Guseinov 0-1 Abasov   Motylev - Safarli
Round 7 27.04.14 15:00 CET   Round 8 28.04.14 15:00 AZST
Safarli - Durarbayli   Durarbayli - Mamedov
Wang Hao - Motylev   Wojtaszek - Abasov
Bacrot - Eljanov   Eljanov - Guseinov
Guseinov - Wojtaszek   Motylev - Bacrot
Abasov - Mamedov   Safarli - Wang Hao
Round 9 29.04.14 15:00 AZST        
Wang Hao - Durarbayli        
Bacrot - Safarli        
Guseinov - Motylev        
Abasov - Eljanov        
Mamedov - Wojtaszek        

Shamkir Chess 2014 | B | Round 5 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Bacrot,Etienne 2722 2863 phpfCo1l0.png 1 ½ ½ 1 1 4.0/5
2 Eljanov,Pavel 2732 2807 phpfCo1l0.png 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 3.5/5
3 Wojtaszek,Radoslaw 2716 2748 0 phpfCo1l0.png 1 ½ ½ 1 3.0/5 5.75
4 Guseinov,Gadir 2621 2712 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 1 ½ 3.0/5 5.25
5 Motylev,Alexander 2685 2642 ½ 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 ½ 2.5/5
6 Wang Hao 2734 2577 ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 0 2.0/5 6.00
7 Abasov,Nijat 2516 2613 ½ 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 2.0/5 5.00
8 Mamedov,Rauf 2660 2636 0 ½ 0 1 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 2.0/5 4.50
9 Durarbayli,Vasif 2584 2549 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1.5/5 4.50
10 Safarli,Eltaj 2656 2502 0 0 ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1.5/5 3.50

The rounds start at 12:00 Amsterdam, 6am New York and 3am Los Angeles time. The official website is www.shamkirchess.az. Chess.com offers daily live commentary at www.chess.com/tv. Games via TWICphpfCo1l0.png

20396 reads 73 comments
4 votes


  • 3 years ago


    I heard somebody said that "Radjabov should be in group B"..that "The days of Anand are over" etc..The point is that never underestimate anybody.

  • 3 years ago


    These players now have the confidence that they can beat Carlsen... this is good for chess overall. It also wakes Carlsen up from taking his brilliance for granted and forces him to work harder and improve - it happened to Kasparov many times and Garry always bounced back.

    However its good for chess for the rest of the field to get this psychological belief. My dream would be that Carlsen comes down to earth at 2860 or so and then have 2 or 3 other GMs at 2800+. Otherwise chess would become very dull indeed.

  • 3 years ago


    That must have been a real shocker!

    Have they broken the code to beat Magnus???

  • 3 years ago


    Magnus was not bothered by the back to back losses, it's part of the computer's strategy, come on hendrick the coach!

  • 3 years ago


    Magnus was not bothered by the two back to back losses, think about it as part of the computer's strategy?

  • 3 years ago


    I really could not understand the rook sac for the bishop, I think he saw something that was not there. I don't know what is wrong with the world's #1, but he will need to get his act together quickly to defend his title. Anand probably just exhaled...cracks in his armour...yes, he is human after all. This form of Carlsen just plays into the hands of the media drumming for his bout with The Tiger...

  • 3 years ago


    hope they play like tal coz nowaday gms play like engines 

  • 3 years ago



    Totally agree !

  • 3 years ago


    Magnus is human, Im just happy to see wins and loses...and not only draws...moreeeeeeeeeeeee fighting chess!!!!!!!  

  • 3 years ago


    anand feeling more confident now ..

  • 3 years ago


    good to see engine ( magnus )  is loossingg ... :p

  • 3 years ago


    Magnus are playing in his real strength now.Of course- he is "wonderboy" ,but not Fischer and not Capa.He needs"back to school"Embarassed. But i like Magnus and i believe -he will done his home- work.Good Luck ! 

  • 3 years ago


    LaserZorin...You can qualify it all you want.  He went 8 years without losing.  

  • 3 years ago


    It's good to see Carlsen's Performance rating getting normalized. I'd would have liked  Caruana to top the tournament standings..Hope he can win this Tournament...!!!!!

  • 3 years ago


    @Ricardubeun...You sure 20 years?...I think we could said his era begin in 1984 when he take over the crown and end when he lose to Kramnick in 2000.  Kasparov was dominate because he learn from the great past and with rival Karpov and yes of course because of his bright mind and hard work he learn from the younger generations also that is why he has success.  But I don't know if he play "fair" most of the time or not.  Fair here mean in psychological term.  In his match vs Anand after he lose game 9 I think he began to slam the door which is not right and unfair right there. 

    In the 90's we saw the new era of younger generations (Anand, Kramnick, Ivanchuck, Kamsky, Gelfand...etc) and he is no longer dominate has he is in his 80's or maybe early 90's.  You can know this by the tournament those younger generations won in the 90's.  So we could say where he truly dominate was in the 80's not much 90's. :)

  • 3 years ago


    @Melchizedek10 , Well Kasparov went 20 years keeping at the top. That is in no way because they could not learn his tricks (20 years is more than enough time to learn anybody's tricks), but because he kept working hard to create new tricks. He was not only talented, but a hard working innovative man, a hard core genius. To stay at the top for 20 years is not an everyday feat, and for sure not in super competitive chess. I do not think anybody in the history of chess can be compared to him at this point (of course that is only my opinion).

  • 3 years ago


    That OJ was from concentrate.

  • 3 years ago



    Yes, and Capa played roughly 90 games during those 8 years.  And of those 90 games, 60 were played in local Marshall Club tournaments or training matches, where the strongest player Capa faced was a lowly local master nowhere close to the world's top 50.  

    Only about 30 of those were played in international tournaments against the world's best.  

    30 games in international tournaments without a loss is an excellent accomplishment, but also something Carlsen, Anand, Kasparov, and many other world champions have achieved.  

    People blindly cite that "8 years without a loss" quote without realizing that it occurred during World War 1, when few tournaments were played, and that players of that era participated in very few events, period.  

    So really, it's "90 games, of which 30 were against top competition, without a loss".  

  • 3 years ago


    Magnus carlsen is a great player and will be. He sure comes back .Thats the quality of champion players. Still Five rounds to go. Rajdbov is very good at kingsindian. In one of the tournment he won 3 games playing kings indian against super GMs. Lets enjoy Good chess played by these worderful players.

  • 3 years ago


    I was guessing Fabiano and Naka to win this tournament before it start.  But if Radjabov win I'm happy for him too.  Those who was suprise to see Carlsen loss I like to give some insight.

    Even top computers loss to other computer too, just look at the TCEC tournament going right now.  Human there are many factors that contribute to how one perform.  And remember even top pro like this will likely blunder 1 in at least every 50 game or more.  It's just how it is.  No one can dominate forever.  Kasparov dominate for a certain time then once other players learn his tricks or his mind when playing then he is over.  Same for Carlsen and whoever will come after him.  Carlsen dominating right now ofcourse there must be some things he "know" or his "package" that maybe others players didn't know or has.  With times once they figure it out then he will no longer be dominate. 

    When a tournament Carlsen playing against top pro like this if they play at their 100% in term of form then yes Carlsen can lose, just look at candidate tournament and other tournament in which he loses.  The last Zurich tournament where he didn't lose cuz I said of the energy factors of the other four who just finish the Tal (I think) tournament.

    With that said if Carlsen can bounce back in the second half and win this tournament then one can understand a lil more of Carlsen (the hidden or not known qualities).

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